AN: Collaboration efforts progress, with each of us providing our own perspective; hope you find it interesting.
"OK," Hermione said, indicating the object on Alan's kitchen table, resembling a shoebox made of wood and metal with Magi-Tech
written across the top of the lid, "please explain to me how this device works."
"Well," Alan replied, chuckling slightly before continuing his explanation as he held up a letter, "it works along the same lines as a Vanishing Cabinet, except it's far more reliable. In order to make sure that your letter gets to the right place, you simply use the special ink to write the name of the person and their residence or workplace and the mailbox simply scans it and sends it on."
Pausing his explanation for a moment, Alan opened the mailbox and placed the recently-written letter to his grandfather inside, subsequently closing the lid and pointing at a button located on the side of the mailbox.
"Once you're ready to send the letter," he continued, placing his finger on the control in question, "you just press this button-", there was a soft whooshing noise from the mailbox as he did so, "-and you can consider your mail delivered."
..." Hermione said, examining the now-empty mailbox after Alan opened it to reveal the letter's absence, before she looked at him curiously. "Why not just rely on owls?"
"What with most of the large birds over here being on the endangered species list, we Americans had to find some kind of alternative," Alan replied, before smiling as he tapped the mailbox. "Besides, at least with this you don't have to worry about anyone intercepting your mail, since it arrives at its destination practically instantly."
"How long do you think it will take your grandfather to respond?" Hermione asked, taking the conversation away from the technicalities and focusing it on the most immediate concern.
"Well... it depends on how busy he is," Alan said, frowning thoughtfully at the question. "Being both the owner of Magi-Tech Enterprises as well as the creator of many of the company's products, he could be out of town as far as I know, so the only thing we can do is to sit back and wait for the thing to hum."
"Hum?" Hermione repeated.
"Yeah," Alan confirmed. "When this thing receives a letter or a package, the logo starts glowing and the box itself makes a humming noise, until you take out whatever is inside."
"Not bad," Hermione said, nodding in approval of the mailbox. "Simple in concept, but the implications
... did your grandfather ever consider selling his inventions in England?"
"He tried," Alan said, sighing at the memory before he fully responded to the Blue Guardian's question. "He worked for years on developing things that would help keep the students of Hogwarts safe, then he had to negotiate with the esteemed body of idiots that make up the Ministry of Magic, and by the time he started to make any sort of headway, Cornelius Fudge had been assassinated and Umbridge somehow managed to make herself his successor."
?" the four wizarding Hogwarts Guardians said, looking at Alan in horror.
"I take it her Royal Toadiness's counterpart in your world is just as bad?" Alan asked, smiling grimly at their reaction.
"To say the least," Harry muttered, scratching briefly at his left hand before he looked back at Alan. "Let me guess, she didn't like the idea of accepting your grandfather's negotiations because she was fixated on her own greatness and the 'purity' of the wizarding families who didn't jump ship and flee to America when 'the going got tough'- or whatever twisted perception she has on wizarding society-, so thought that accepting help from him would be like taking advice from a chimp?"
"Basically," Alan said. "She was all nice and polite to him when he sent her the plans, but when she learned his name and blood status she dropped him like a hot potato and banished him from the UK for life."
"Umbridge all over," Hermione sighed. "If anything didn't fit her preconceptions, she'd do whatever she could to make
them fit; she was sent to Hogwarts to ensure that Dumbledore wasn't building a private army- ridiculous at the time, trust me-, and spent most of her time trying to find deliberate fault with Hagrid just because he was half-giant, even when his lessons were actually rather good."
"She did a lot worse than that during her thankfully brief tenure as Minister," Alan said, the two walking back into the living room where the other Rangers- with the exception of Doctor Tommy Oliver, who'd decided to carry out additional research at the Command Centre- were casually chatting over a brief meal. "She was sentenced to life imprisonment after it was found out that she was behind Fudge's assassination."
Hermione was about to ask what could have prompted the fanatically-loyal Umbridge to assassinate Fudge- the woman had been dangerous, but she'd always seemed to Hermione to be the type to prefer going along with the party line rather than coming up with her own-, but Alan's attention was distracted when he saw a black electric guitar beside an amplifier. "What's my guitar doing here?"
"That's my fault," Kira replied, swallowing the last bite before she looked at him. "If I wasn't supposed to-"
"Hey, I've been looking for this for ages
; I'm just glad it's still here!" Alan said, grinning over at the Yellow Dino Thunder Ranger as he picked up the instrument, strumming it for a moment before he looked back at Kira. "Where'd you find it?"
"Kira found both it and the amp while we were exploring that shed in the backyard," Trent replied.
..." Alan groaned, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand in frustration. "The one place I never thought of looking; I'm going to have to get out there and see what else I've hidden from myself..."
"Always in the last place you'd think, huh?" Conner said, with a slight smile at his fellow Red Ranger.
"Quite," Alan said, before he looked over at Conner's only female teammate. "Thanks for finding it for me, Kira."
"No problem," Kira replied, smiling at Alan in response. "Why don't you play something for us?"
"Uh... I don't know..." Alan said, actually blushing at the request. "I haven't played in a while and my musical tastes are probably different from yours..."
"Are you kidding?" Trent asked, looking at him with a smile. "Kira found your CD and cassette collection while we were out there, as well; I think we can handle whatever you dish out."
"Well..." Alan began.
"Alan?" Elizabeth suddenly called out, Harry's alternate-universe sister walking into the room in a yellow sweatshirt and matching sweatpants, glaring at her boyfriend with folded arms. "I thought we were going to meet at the park for our afternoon run?"
..." Alan said, glancing at his watch before looking back at her. "I'm sorry; I had a hard time trying to decide what to tell my grandpa in regards to the Spear, and it took me longer than I thought it would."
"It's all right," Elizabeth said, smiling at him. "Go and get changed into your exercise clothes, and then we'll see who can last six laps."
"OK, I'll go and get changed," Alan said, before he looked over at the other Rangers. "Rain check on the dinner entertainment?"
"We'll hold you to it," Jason said with a grin.
With that, Alan hurried up to change his clothes, leaving the Hogwarts Guardians and Dino Thunder Rangers sitting in the room, looking thoughtfully over at Jake and Nate as they sat on a sofa slightly removed from the rest of the team.
"So..." Conner asked, looking uncertainly at the Blue and Black Patronus Force Rangers. "I get how Alan and Elizabeth got into this based on what Harry told us about his family history- and Amanda and Sean fit as well for the same reason-, but how about you two?"
"How about we two... what?" Jake asked, looking in confusion at Conner.
"I think what my esteemed colleague is attempting to discover," Ethan said, looking hopefully at them, "is how you guys ended up becoming Rangers together in the first place?"
"We were just in the right place at the right time; let's just leave it at that," Nathan said, before turning his attention back to the TV he'd been watching in a manner that made it clear that he considered this issue closed.
"Nathan doesn't mean to be rude or anything; he's just... well, it's a bit basic, really," Jake said, shrugging apologetically at Conner. "We'd only been in Angel Grove for an hour or so when Goldar and a bunch of Putties attacked us in the park, just before Nathan, Alan, Luna, Elizabeth and I were teleported to the Command Centre and given the chance to become Rangers."
"Sounds similar to how my team were recruited," Jason said, a wistful smile on his face at the memory. "We were all just sitting around the Juice Bar one minute, then everything started shaking as Rita attacked and we were teleported away by Zordon before we even had time to look at what was happening."
"Hey, at least you guys were chosen by someone
," Conner said, looking slightly awkwardly at the other two Rangers. "The three of us were at a museum with Doctor O. for a detention and just fell through a sinkhole leading to what would become our base of operations; the gems might have chosen us, but none of us even knew that a choice was to be made in the first place."
"And then we have the Hogwarts Guardians, who received their powers from an alien woman and Dumbledore's portrait-" Jake said, only to stop talking as Elizabeth stiffened with an angry gasp.
"And if I ever
get my hands on that candy-eating, long-bearded, old bastard..." Elizabeth said, her voice low as she glared at the window before Alan walked back down the stairs, now dressed in a red sweatshirt and black sweatpants.
"Ready to go?" he said, looking at Elizabeth to receive a confirming nod before she headed for the door, leaving Alan to look at the other Rangers. "We'll be back in a few hours so in the meantime, you guys can hang out in here. And Kira, if you want to mess around with my guitar, the strings are enchanted to tune themselves; just strum the strings and state the tuning that you want to be in and the strings will do the work."
With that, he turned around to walk out of the room after Elizabeth, leaving the other Rangers to look uncertainly at each other.
They'd done what they could to prepare for whatever might be coming up, but as it was they were stuck until Ivan or the Psychos actually attacked them; they couldn't do
anything against their enemies right now...
As he stood in the Command Centre, searching through the databanks for any other information the Spear of Elysia, Tommy tried not to feel too nostalgic for the fact that he would never be able to do this back in his home universe.
As much as he missed Zordon, he couldn't just abandon his responsibilities back home, to say nothing of the consequences if he encountered his other self; he might like having the chance to interact with Zordon and Alpha again, but that didn't mean that he could ignore his world.
For better or for worse, he was only here until they could get home, and he was just going to focus on enjoying the chance to see them again while it lasted without trying to push his luck.
In the meantime, it was also interesting to see how Sean was coping with his new responsibilities as the Green Patronus Ranger. While Tommy had witnessed Adam- and later Carlos- 'inherit' his original colour when they'd acquired the Zeo and Turbo powers, it still hadn't felt like he was seeing his actual 'heir', given that their Green Rangers were just replacing the Black Rangers as part of the 'core five' Rangers, rather than becoming the sixth Ranger like Sean was now...
"I'm finished with the adjustments, Zordon," Alpha said, looking from where he had been working on some adjustments of the Morphing Grid.
"EXCELLENT, ALPHA," Zordon said, nodding in approval at him. "ACCESS THE ARCHIVES AND RETRIEVE THE GREEN POWER COIN."
At those words, Tommy looked up sharply at Alpha's words, staring in surprise as he saw a golden coin with a fleur-de-lis symbol on it.
It might not be his own
green power coin, but to see that coin once again, the coin that had brought him into the world of the Power Rangers and caused him so much trouble while proving such an important part of his life...
"SEAN," Zordon said, looking at the other Green Ranger, "DUE TO THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE COMPUTER SYSTEMS, YOUR ZORD WILL NOT BE READY FOR ANOTHER TWENTY- FOUR HOURS. HOWEVER, DUE TO THE RANGERS BEING FORCED TO SPLIT THEIR TEAMS IN ORDER TO LOCATE THE SPEAR, AS WELL AS IVAN OOZE'S UNPREDICTABLE NATURE, I HAVE DECIDED TO GRANT YOU CONTROL OVER THE MIGHTY DRAGONZORD. PLEASE TAKE THE POWER COIN YOU SEE BEFORE YOU."
Reaching out, Sean grabbed the power coin from its position in the air, gazing at it in wonder for a moment before he glanced over at Tommy.
"So..." he asked, holding the coin up thoughtfully. "This is what you used when you first started out, huh?"
"Your world's Tommy Oliver, anyway," Tommy said, looking wistfully at his counterpart's coin. "But it looks like this world's Dragonzord also managed to survive to see this day..."
For a moment, he just stared at his old coin, lost in the memory of the days when he'd been active in his original colour and using the large green zord that could fight on its own or fight with the other three zords...
"Trust me," he said, focusing his mind on the present as he looked at Sean, "the way things are going, you're going to need all of the firepower you can get; if your Dragonzord is anything like mine, it's going to come in useful."
"TOMMY IS CORRECT, SEAN," Zordon said. "AND ONCE THE ELEPHANTZORD HAS BEEN COMPLETED, YOU AND THE OTHER RANGERS WILL HAVE GAINED TWO INCREDIBLE WEAPONS IN THE WAR AGAINST EVIL."
"And speaking of zords," Alpha chimed in, "Amanda has reported that the Guardian Zords are fully repaired and all systems are functioning normally!"
"THAT IS EXCELLENT NEWS INDEED," Zordon said.
"I just wish it was as easy getting home..." Tommy said, ignoring the reminder that he and the Dino Thunder Rangers no longer had their own zords. "If that Voldemort character somehow gained possession of Rita's staff, there's no telling what else
he might digging up..."
"Zordon!" Alpha cried out, once again halting Tommy's reflections. "I'm picking up a strange signal originating in the caves near the reservation! It appears to be a distress call!"
"I'll check it out," Sean said.
"I'll come with you," Tommy said, looking firmly at the other Green Ranger; after he had spent so long out of his depth, he'd appreciate any chance to do what he did best.
"TOMMY, SEAN," Zordon said. "DUE TO THE UNKNOWN NATURE OF THIS DISTRESS SIGNAL, I MUST RECOMMEND THAT THE BOTH OF YOU MORPH BEFORE CONFRONTING THE SOURCE OF THE SIGNAL."
"You want to lead, Doc?" Sean asked, looking at him with a smile. "After all, age before beauty."
"Beauty was a black horse," Tommy said, before he smiled and activated his morpher. "Dino Thunder! Power Up!"
"It's Morphin' Time
!" Sean said, placing his own morphers together as he activated them. "Green Elephant Patronus Power!"
Glancing around the room they were staying in, Ron had to admit that it wasn't actually that bad.
Even if he'd always been a bit sensitive about the Weasley finances, he'd always felt that the Burrow itself was generally of a comfortable size; a few rooms could have been larger, but he'd never felt like he'd wanted some massive house like what the Malfoys were rumoured to possess and have so much space that he'd never use.
Like what brief glimpses he'd caught of Harry's family's house during their visit prior to the world cup, Alan Black's house was large without being intimidatingly so; it presented a sense of a well-off home without throwing their money in visitors' faces...
"Hey," Ron said, looking curiously at a large group of photographs on the shelves in a corner of the room, "what's with all these photos? And why does Alan have pictures of Bill, Percy and Fleur?"
"That?" Nathan said, walking over to look more closely at the shelves as the other Rangers turned to face the Yellow and Black Rangers. "That shelf serves as a memorial for all those that we lost during the war."
Ron wasn't sure if he should feel guilty or shocked at this news; bringing up such a sensitive topic wasn't exactly something he was proud of, but the implication that his brothers and almost-sister-in-law- it wasn't like Bill and Fleur were married yet
back home- were dead
"I mean, a lot of people died, don't get me wrong," Nathan continued, indicating the relevant photographs as he spoke, the other Rangers gathering around the shelves to look at the photographs, "but we set this memorial up to commemorate the losses of the people we actually knew. Sirius Black- Alan's stepdad- was ambushed by his cousin Bellatrix and a group of Death Eaters-" Ron thought that sounded almost too similar to Sirius's death back home- "and Percy Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Cedric Diggort, and Cho Chang-Diggory all died in the final battle."
Glancing over at his friends, Ron noted that Harry, Hermione and Ginny obviously felt the same way about that particular bit of news as he did; the idea that their families could die in some battle that hadn't yet been fought in their world while they were struggling against some all new enemies...
It was another example of a situation where they didn't know how to feel about what they had learned; their families might be dead in this world, but the versions of them that they'd grown up with weren't
"What... what about Bill and Fleur?" Ginny asked, looking apprehensively at Nathan. "When did they die?"
"A pointless, bloody mess, from what I heard," Nathan said, his expression grim as he looked at the relevant photographs. "Bill was murdered along with his new father-in-law just a few hours after he and Fleur were married, and as for Fleur and Mrs Delacour..."
He shook his head grimly as he looked over at the Rangers. "A bunch of racist gits with very few female members and a beautiful part-Veela woman who they could regard as something less than human; do the math."
"Oh God..." Ron said, almost feeling his face become pale at the thought of the situation described happening to his eldest brother.
He knew that it hadn't
happened that way back in their world, of course- with Dimitria to keep them updated, they'd been informed of anything significant happening to their families, so he knew that his Bill and Fleur were now happily married and living in secret-, but to hear about what had happened to them here...
"I'm not sure who had it worse, really," Nathan said as he looked back at the photographs. "From what we heard from the spy network, Mrs Delacour was given to the werewolves and killed herself virtually instantly, while Fleur was just raped to death."
!" Hermione cried, her eyes wide with horror and disgust at the scenario described. "That's- wait; what about Fleur's little sister?"
"Gabrielle?" Nathan said, a more positive expression on his face as he spoke. "She's here in America under the protection of a prominent family that the Delacour family had formed some kind of alliance with in the 1800s. Misses her family, of course, but at least she's alive."
"And... these people?" Harry asked, indicating three photographs of people he didn't recognise; a tall dark-haired man, a younger man with dark hair and eyes with a child-like enthusiasm, and an oriental-looking girl standing next to Elizabeth as they made goofy expressions at the camera. "Who are they?"
"The first is Regulus Black; he was a Death Eater for a while before he turned against Voldemort," Nathan explained. "The second is Alexi Rumanof, he attended Hogwarts after he was chucked out of Durmstrang. I guess that you could say that he was Russia's answer to Fred and George; he wanted to be a toymaker and the twins were going to install another section in their joke shop for Alexi to use as a toy store. He lost his life saving a family when Death Eaters attacked Diagon Alley."
"And the girl in the picture with Elizabeth?" Trent asked.
"Candy Parker," Nathan said. "She arrived in England with her parents, both of whom were Enforcers. She was also one of Elizabeth's best friends. Voldemort killed her along with her parents and baby brother before hanging their bodies over the entrance to Hogwarts in order to frighten us into submission."
"Sounds like Voldemort doesn't want to face someone unless they can't fight back..." Jason said, glaring in disgust at the pictures as he reflected on the fates of the people shown within them.
"And that guy's still alive
back home?" Kira asked, looking over at Harry in shock.
"Alive and well, even if he's generally focusing his attention on England right now," Harry replied, looking grimly back at the Yellow Dino Thunder Ranger. "See why we want to get home?"
Ron just hoped that Harry felt as confident about their chances of getting home as he sounded; their lack of progress in that department so far was not
encouraging for their future attempts to do so...
As he walked carefully into the caves of the Native American reservation where he'd spent so much time in his last year or so in Angel Grove- Tommy briefly wondered if David and Sam were here in this reality, but this wasn't the time to look into something like that-, Tommy could only hope that whatever they were tracking wasn't too dangerous; monster fights might be good for the insurance industries in Angel Grove, but the property damage they invariably caused had always sucked.
It was one reason he'd moved to Reefside, really; even if he hadn't wanted or expected to become a Ranger again, the buildings there weren't as consistently tall as those in Angel Grove, which limited the chance of them getting 'caught in the crossfire'...
Glancing at the signal tracker that Alpha had given him before they'd left the Command Centre, Tommy sighed in frustration.
"Having any luck with that thing?" Sean asked.
"I'm getting a signal, but it's pretty weak," Tommy replied, studying the tracker for a moment before he indicated a narrow passageway. "Still, whatever it is, it looks like it's coming from that direction."
"Ah," Sean said, looking at the passageway for a moment before he looked back at Tommy. "I don't know about you, Doc, but I'm getting a bad feeling about this; you think we should... call for backup or something?"
"Worried, Green Ranger?" a voice said from further into the cave, echoing around the two Rangers. "You should be!"
Spinning around in the direction of the voice, Tommy's eyes widened in shock at the sight of the Black and White Psycho Rangers standing before them, their twisted corruptions of Ranger costumes inspiring fear even without his knowledge of what these beings were capable of.
It had taken all five of the Space Rangers just to defeat one Psycho at a time- Pink Psycho remained the only villain to have actually killed
a Ranger, even if Kendrix had been resurrected after the Quantum Sabres were returned to Mirinoi-, and now he was up against two
of them with a rookie?
"Stand aside, Elephant boy," Psycho Black said, looking mockingly at Sean. "It's the Black Ranger I'm after!"
"And I was hoping to meet up with the White Ranger again," Psycho White added, joining his black teammate in glaring at Sean. "But, since he's too cowardly to be here, you can either walk away or you can meet the same fate as that old fossil standing beside you!"
"Let me get this straight..." Sean said, his voice lowering as his hand inched its way towards his holster. "You expect me to just leave a fellow Ranger to your loving care? I have only two words to say to that
Even Tommy's experienced reflexes barely had time to register Sean draw his wand and yell out an incantation that sent a massive elephant hurtling towards the Psycho Rangers, striking them with such force that they were thrown out of the cave before either of them could even voice their shock at Sean's attack.
"Nice move," Tommy said, nodding in approval at his new ally as the elephant vanished.
"Thanks," Sean said, before he turned to head for the entrance. "Come on; we have to warn the others!"
Tommy didn't bother arguing about that; since the source of the energy signature had already been clearly established as the Psychos, the sooner they could alert their teammates that the other dark Rangers were active, the better.
As they left the cave, Tommy noticed that the Psychos were already back on their feet, but he was already activating the teleportation feature in his communicator- it might have been ages since he'd used that old thing, but it was still a lot easier than the Invisiportals he'd only been able to intermittently rely on in Reefside- when they fired some kind of red energy at him and Sean as they vanished...
As he stared out of the window at the city before them, the other Rangers chatting in Alan's living room, Harry wondered what it said about his life that he was actually missing his world.
It wasn't just the fact that he had left his world at Voldemort's mercy- he'd accepted long ago that his need to stop Voldemort went beyond his destiny and was fundamentally a matter of choice-, but the fact that he was so dependent on the other Rangers to understand what he was even up against right now...
He'd always complained about the fact that everyone expected him to either lead him or obey them when he was back home, but at least back then he'd always had enough knowledge of what he was dealing with to make the final decision on his own; ever since they'd arrived here, he'd been reduced to either reacting to the latest attacks or following Alan Black's lead out of a lack of any idea what to do on his own.
He just wanted to be somewhere where he knew what to do and could actually do
But he couldn't.
Even if getting home right now suddenly became an option, the situation they'd created here was too dangerous for them to just abandon it.
If Ivan had managed to acquire the Zeo Crystal because of what he'd acquired from Jason, then it was only a matter of time before he tried to attack the Patronus Force Rangers with that power; Harry couldn't leave this world if the friends they'd made here were going to be faced with almost certainly overwhelming odds the moment they left.
No matter how much home might be his priority, he wouldn't leave the Patronus Force to deal with a threat they'd unintentionally introduced, and he was sure that Jason and Tommy would agree with him.
He just hoped that seventeen Rangers would be enough; Ivan would be dangerous and powerful enough if all he had was just the Dark Rangers- Harry still wasn't sure how they should cope with that; would confronting their alternate selves directly be the best strategy while leaving alt-Fred for Jason or Sylvia, or should they switch it around to make it more complicated?-, but with the Psychos and the Zeo Crystal added to the equation, he really
didn't like their chances...
"Harry?" a voice suddenly called to him, prompting him to turn around and look at Ginny as she uncertainly walked up to him, a soft expression of concern on her face. "Are you all right?"
"Just... thinking," Harry said, shrugging awkwardly before he turned his attention back to the window. "It's... it's all become more complicated now, hasn't it?"
"What, the part where we're in another reality dealing with the villains of that world's Rangers which includes our evil counterparts?" Ginny asked, smiling slightly as she looked at Harry. "No, that's simple
Looking at Harry with a solemn smile, Ginny smiled as she leaned over to give him a brief, affectionate kiss.
"We're together, Harry," she said, looking reassuringly at her boyfriend. "We're dealing with a very... weird
situation, but we're dealing with it."
"That's why we're Rangers, huh?" Harry asked.
"No," Ginny replied solemnly. "That's what makes us us
Harry smiled gratefully at her.
It was moments like this that reminded Harry why he'd fallen for her in the first place; in a world where he so often felt defined by his past with Voldemort, Ginny could always make him feel human even when he had to be a hero.
"Come on," she said, indicating the room where the others were still talking. "Time for us to brainstorm our next move."
This wasn't going to be easy, but they were here, they had formed friends here, and they were going to protect this world and their new friends as much as they could before they had to go back to their own fight.
Even as Harry and Ginny walked back into the house, they were unaware of the figure that had been watching events unfold with a grim smirk on its twisted face.
Ivan Ooze's plans might
result in the defeat of the Power Rangers, but considering the sheer variety of power sources the purple being was currently tapping into, he was sure that Ooze wouldn't 'mind' losing one of them in a good cause.
A bit of dimensional manipulation while focusing on a particular acquaintance of his, and then...
He smiled firmly as he looked at the Rangers gathered in the house before him, each one trying pathetically to take their minds off the peril they now faced.
Once he was done with this latest 'present', the Rangers would have so many threats to deal with that at least one
of their enemies would get lucky.